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Lo, the hapless student living in B, C, or D entries in Lowell House! For, it is estimated that he walks approximately 13 miles, 3,720 feet out of his way during the course of three year's walking to meals across the main court.
It is well known to undergraduates that there is a small "rotary traffic" circle at the junction of four paths in Lowell. Whether this plot was designed merely to lengthen the journey across the court or was considered a contribution to Lowell's famed architectural excellence, has not been determined.
Student vs. Lowell
The situation is this: a student walks across the court. He is hungry, and wishes to reach the dining hall as quickly as possible. He is confronted by a circular grass plot which he must walk around, for a fence prevents him from taking a straight course.
The student is forced to go exactly 67 inches out of his way, and his circuitous routs takes him three seconds longer. Going to three meals a day for 240 days, thus making a total of 4,320 trips around the plot in a college year he must walk four miles, 3000 feet out of his way.
What Price Beauty
There seconds a trip totals for the year to three hours and 36 minutes of time wasted all of which mght well have been spent in Worthy scholastic endeavor. So a three-year hike of about 13 and two-thirds mikes, and a delay of about 10 hours, 48 minutes, seem to be the result of architectural symmetry at Lowell.
Equally disastrous for those who "crack" Widener many times during the year are the turnstiles at the entrance. Instead of being able to walk straight in to the library entrance hall, the student finds that the "entrance" turnstiles are to the right and left, out of his way.
The Pillars Must Go!
It is an eighteen foot trip from the Widener's doors to the nearest turn-stile, which unfortunately, is an "exit" one. Twenty-one feet three inches, however, constitutes the journey to the proper turnstile, and is addition to the longer trip, the student entering must dodge a marble pillar on each side.
A the rate of three feet, three inches per entrance, the dillicapt student who enters Widener 100 times a year for four years, wastes good time waking the extra 1300 feet to the out-of-the-way turnstiles.
Are We Mincemeat?
Sadly enough, Widener presents another apparently insoluble problem in the front steps. For anyone of nearly normal stature, it is impossible to go straight up or down these steps with-all using a restrained gait that can be described only as "mincing." And if two steps are included in one stride, the general effect is that of a gallop, certainly unbecoming to the Widener at-phosphere.
If, then, students are to be seen walking around the Yard with delicate little sprippings, Widener's steps are surely to game, for in 100 trips a year to the library, a student is very likely to become a slave again, to architecture.
New Lecture Hall is a problem not only in its name, for many, many students have pondered over the questions: "Just when is new old?" but it offers its architectural symmetry(?) as an obstacle to the earnest undergraduate. Approaching the west basement stairway from the corner where traffic is to be dredged, the student, in a hurry of course, finds two routes possible in order to get to the stairway.
1. He may go around the hedge-surrounded grassy area in his way.
2. He may cut across the grass.
From the corner curb to the stairway via Rout 1, the student takes 17 full seconds. But, employing the illegal Routue 2, he does it in 10 flat. Seven seconds, then, are wasted because of the grass plot, an architectural Frankenstein! And even if the illicit route is taken, a hedge and a tree block speedy entrance to class.
Architecture is As Aarchitecture Does
There is an imaginary, though not unlikely situation to be drawn: a student is about to take his last final exam in New Lecture Hall basement. If he fails the exam, he will flunk out. Cramming to the last minute, he finds, as he approaches the stairway, that he has but 12 seconds left to get into the examination on time.
Will he walk around the grass plot as a decent citizen should, upholding his moral fortitude, but flunking, or will he take the criminal short cut, reaching the exam just in time? A question indeed, but should he flunk, Harvard architecture will have claimed another victim
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